Take Time to Recharge!
by Tamara Eaton
I'm often asked if I ever feel like sending the children all off to school. Honestly, I don't, but there ARE days when I feel the need for some peace and quiet and time alone!
It's not always easy having our children home all day long every day and it's normal for us to feel like we need some time to ourselves. One thing I've observed over the years is that some homeschool parents feel guilty about needing time apart. We talk about child-led homeschooling, always being available to help our children when they need help, recognizing our children's unique needs, etc. Well, I also believe in parents and children having a mutual respect for one another! Parents have needs too!
Sure, we're giving up some of our own interests during these years for the sake of homeschooling our children, I don't mind that. But even I need time to think and recharge without having to meet the children's needs all the time and I LOVE being with my children!
There is nothing wrong with sending your children off to another part of the house so that you can have some time to do something. (We're talking about children old enough to play or work on their own here, not those little ones that need constant supervision lest they swallow something strange, get into trouble, etc.) There is also nothing wrong with taking a break from school when YOU need it. Someone said that we had what always sounded like "THE PERFECT HOMESCHOOL", that's not true, we just know when we need to take a day off to recharge!
Allow me to describe a recent scene in our home:
It was a Monday afternoon, I was SO tired and REALLY needed my nap. I had spent the morning doing many things with my youngest two--reading aloud, covering phonics, helping them get set up for some art with fabric crayons and supplies, etc. Not to mention the laundry, housework, and phone calls (I usually don't answer in the mornings but there were unusual circumstances).
So here I was, at 2:00 (MY naptime!), cuddled up with my younger two and practically lulled to sleep after listening to both of them read aloud. I told them to run along and get an educational video or library books and lie down and rest in the den so I could take a nap. Some of the older children were there so they could keep an eye on them -- our whole family is used to having a quiet time or naps in the afternoon.
My little boy reaches over and pulls out his paper and pencil and says, "But Mom, I want to learn!" What a beautiful opportunity! He WANTS to LEARN! How could I miss this chance to pour more into his brain at this point? But I did...because there are times I CAN skip a nap and manage, but this time I knew I would be a BETTER mom and teacher if I could just have some time to rest before going on through the rest of the day. I assured him we could do more later that day or the next day or he could find something to do quietly on his own.
This is just one example that describes how I homeschool for the long haul! By the time my youngest finishes homeschooling , I will have devoted a large portion of my life to homeschooling and I just can't afford to "burn out". I think families need to respect one anothers' needs for quiet, personal time, too.
My husband also recognizes I need this time and tries to protect me from doing too much without regard to my own needs. I realize this term "my own needs" is greatly misused in our society, but we all DO need time to come apart and rest and recharge so we can be even better equipped for ministry!
That doesn't mean that I give into resentment if I can't have time apart. (And when we had babies, often my time apart included nursing, rocking, and changing diapers!) God is always able to give us ALL the grace we need for times like this!
Nor does it mean that we become selfish or lazy and only do what we feel like doing all the time! But we have to make sure we're following His plans and not taking on more than what He desires, too. I know at times I have taken on more than I could handle just because the opportunity was there. I learned from those mistakes! *HE* didn't ask me to do those things, I just decided they'd be worthwhile. I have learned to count the cost and seek Him FIRST before deciding how much to do.
When I share about our homeschooling experiences, I want it to be an encouragement. I don't want anyone to think that we haven't had our struggles and challenges along the way, but IT DOES GET EASIER the longer you do it! Trust me! It's as though the homeschooling aspect has now been *absorbed* into our family's lifestyle so that it's not as much of an effort--it comes naturally. It's all just one part of our whole discipling of the children and preparing them to follow the Lord and fulfill the ministry that He has for each one of them. These are peaceful days of homeschooling in our home, and I wish the same for all of you!
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mat.11:28-29
A Dozen Ways for Moms to Recharge
- Pray and Abide in Jesus (John 15)
- Read and Study your Bible. Kay Arthur's Precept Bible Studies are wonderful!
- Read uplifting and encouraging books while enjoying a cup of hot tea or cocoa! (Even if it's just a few pages at a time, I rarely am able to read huge amounts without having to stop to do something else!)
- Take a hot bubble bath with a waterproof magazine!
- Put beautiful, uplifting music on and just close your eyes and listen. Or put on lively music and dance!
- Exercise! Aerobics video tapes or exercise bikes or take walks if you have someone to watch the younger children!
- Enjoy a favorite hobby or craft. I love crocheting-- a great stress-reducer for me is to pray and crochet! (Choose a hobby that's easy to pick up and do just when you have a few spare minutes.)
- Pop some popcorn and watch a good old fashioned movie on video.
- Call (or email!) another busy homeschool mom and share briefly then pray for one another. When we take time to encourage and minister to others, we build ourselves up, too!
- Keep regular naptimes and bedtimes! Even older children can be expected to be quiet in the afternoons for an hour or so.
- May sure YOU'RE getting enough sleep and eating well--it can make all the difference in the world!
- Keep a journal and write down not only your struggles, but your answers to prayer, too. What an encouragement to look back over the journal and see His faithfulness at all times. Even when we don't see or understand what He's doing in our lives, He's still moving and we can trust Him to work everything out.
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information, please join us on the Christian Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."